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Laura McDonald

Laura McDonald is a web developer by trade who enjoys long walks on the moors--er--hills of Central Texas. She is Girlebooks' founder and site administrator. Laura's literary preferences include Jane Austen, the Brontes, epistolary novels, and travelogues.

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Review: "Night and Day" by Virginia Woolf


Originally published in 1919, Night and Day contrasts the daily lives of four major characters while examining the relationships between love, marriage, happiness, and success. Like Virginia Woolf’s first novel The Voyage Out, Night and Day is a more traditional narrative than her later novels. Unlike her first novel, however, Night and Day relies much more on its characters’ internal struggles to push the its plot forward. Continue reading .

Review: "Wives and Daughters" by Elizabeth Gaskell


First published as a serial from August 1864 to January 1866 in the Cornhill Magazine, the story revolves around Molly Gibson, the only daughter of a widowed doctor living in a provincial English town in the 1830s. When Gaskell died suddenly in 1865, it was not quite complete, and the last section was written by Frederick Greenwood. Continue reading .

Review: "The Mill on the Floss" by George Eliot

First published in 1860, The Mill on the Floss is George Eliot’s second full length novel. Considered the most autobiographical of her work, it is the story of free-spirited Maggie Tulliver and her stern brother Tom. Eliot details poignantly their childhood growing up at Dorlcote Mill on the River Floss and later their turbulent young adulthood. Continue reading .

Review: "Legends of Vancouver" by Pauline Johnson

Pauline Johnson was born on the Six Nations Indian Reserve in Ontario to a Mohawk father and an English mother. Legends of Vancouver was originally published around 1910 as a series of newspaper articles based on stories related by Johnson’s friend, Chief Joe Capilano of the Squamish people. It is the first collection of native legends retold by a native artist and has become a classic of Canadian literature. Continue reading .

Review: "The Song of the Lark" by Willa Cather


The Song of the Lark was Cather’s third novel. Written between O Pioneers! and My Antonia, it is very different from those novels for which Cather is better known. The story is set among sand hills and canyons, big crowded cities and harmonious music. It is the story of the making of an artist, from her humble beginnings in Moonstone, Colorado to the big time singing operas in New York. It is a story in three parts. Continue reading .

Review: "The Voyage Out" by Virginia Woolf


While Woolf can easily be criticized for neglecting to research the technical details and for writing only about the upper classes and their manias, to dwell on these issues would be entirely beside the point. E. M. Forster put it best when he described The Voyage Out as “…a strange, tragic, inspired book whose scene is a South America not found on any map and reached by a boat which would not float on any sea, an America whose spiritual boundaries touch Xanadu and Atlantis.” Continue reading .

Review: "Heidi" by Johanna Spyri


Written in 1880 by Swiss author Johanna Spyri, Heidi focuses on events in the life of a young orphan who is pawned off on her hermit grandfather at a young age. Heidi’s innate goodness and loving attitude has a deep effect on those around her, including grumpy gramps, helping them to realize the error of their ways and changing their lives for the better. Heidi–as all the best literature, young adult or not–has something for readers of all ages and beliefs. Continue reading .

Review: "O Pioneers!" by Willa Cather

Published in 1913, O Pioneers! was Willa Cather’s second novel. It centers on a family of Swedish immigrants in rural Nebraska. The main character, Alexandra Bergson, inherits the family farmland when her father dies, and she devotes her life to making the farm a viable enterprise at a time when other immigrant families are giving up and leaving the prairie. Continue reading .

Smashwords Summer/Winter Promotion 2012

The Smashwords Summer/Winter Promotion is still going strong all month of July. Take a look at all our publications involved in the promotion and the links to their purchase pages on Smashwords. These FREE and heavy discounts that won’t last much longer! Continue reading .

Review: "The Happy Medium Book Two" by Janice Tarver


Although she has sometimes been referred to as a clairvoyant, author Janice Tarver prefers to describe her abilities as those of a medium. In the continuation of her first book, The Happy Medium, Book Two: Memorable Readings focuses more on client readings about loss and grieving. Janice describes how messages come to her during a reading and how she handles those messages and passes them on to her clients. She also addresses the question of whether pets have souls, and whether houses can indeed be haunted. Continue reading .

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